How Long Flight Delay For Compensation

If your flight has been delayed for at least 3 hours, you have the right to submit a claim to the EU airline that was responsible. If they postponed your flight for reasons other than those which would be considered extraordinary circumstances, they should compensate you for the inconvenience. If the reason for the delay proves sufficient grounds for compensation, you could receive up to £520. The total amount of compensation depends on how many hours your flight was delayed by, and is determined by the time of arrival and not the time of departure.

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How Flight Delay Compensation Works in Practice

A lot of travellers want to know how long their flight delay needs to be for them to be able to claim compensation. The length of the delay is an important factor when it comes to raising a claim. Keep in mind that the reimbursement is a fixed amount, regardless of the ticket price and not a straight refund of the airfare. The EC 261 law stipulates that you can claim up to a maximum of £520 for delays extending more than 4 hours.

There is no compensation for delays under 3 hours. Some airlines provide vouchers but you have the right to be reimbursed in cash, as per the EC 261 regulation. If you are ready to claim, start by gathering evidence such as your email confirmation, boarding pass, flight number, and any airfare receipts. If you can't retrieve the proof, you may find them in the passenger logs of the air carrier. If you think you cannot succeed in this alone, AirHelp professionals are ready to assist.

AirHelp is here to help you get compensation for flight delays and cancellations. Find out what you could be entitled to.

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About AirHelp

AirHelp is the world's largest air passenger rights organisation, here to help air travellers secure compensation for delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flights .

We make claiming compensation easy and stress-free. Whether you are unsure of your rights, lack the time, or simply want an expert to handle your entire claim for you, AirHelp can help you get what you are rightfully owed.

We operate on a no win, no fee basis, so you can check your compensation risk-free.


Claiming Compensation for Flight Delays and Cancellations

How do you know when you should claim compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight? Though the law can be complicated, we're here to break it down for you:

Delayed flights: you may be able to claim compensation if your flight arrived 3 hours or more late.
Cancelled flights: you may be eligible for compensation if your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before it was due to depart.
Overbookings: you are owed compensation any time you are denied boarding through no fault of your own — so long as you didn't voluntarily give up your seat.

We should note that if extraordinary circumstances were involved, arirlines are under no obligation to pay compensation. Examples of extraordinary circumstances include bad weather, travel restrictions, and air traffic control strikes. Though these situations cause delays and cancellations, the airline isn't at fault, so can't be expected to offer compensation.

Remember these are European flight regulations and so only apply to flights departing from an EU airport, or flights landing in the EU with a European airline. The table below makes it clear which flights are covered:

Claim up to £520 in compensation if your flight has been delayed, cancelled, or overbooked within the last 3 years.

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How Much Flight Compensation?

DistanceCompensation
All flights under 1,500 kmUp to £220 per person
Internal EU flights over 1,500 kmUp to £350 per person
Non-internal EU flights between 1,500 - 3,500 kmUp to £350 per person
Non-internal EU flights over 3,500 kmUp to £520 per person

Table shows values in € as specified in EC 261

In some circumstances the compensation amount may differ from the standard amounts shown above. The easiest way to find out what you’re owed is to use our Compensation Check.


What to Do if Your Flight is Delayed or Cancelled

If you experience a flight delay or cancellation, here's what you should do:

  • Hold onto your boarding pass and other travel documents.
  • Ask why the flight was delayed or cancelled.
  • Request food, drinks, and if necessary, free transport and hotel accommodation.
  • If you had a cancelled flight, ask for an alternative flight or a refund.
  • Keep all receipts of any extra expenses you may have had, including necessary food, clothing, etc.
  • Be careful not to sign any waivers or accept vouchers that will require you to waive your right to compensation.

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